Originally posted by Nadir on LastChocolateCity.com
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MR. PRESIDENT!
It’s May 1, the fourth anniversary of President George W. Bush’Â€Â™s triumphant “ÂœMission Accomplished”Â€Â speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where he announced that major combat operations in Iraq were over. The US military had successfully overthrown a sovereign government and taken the Iraqi nation hostage. Champange for everyone!
Because of the deteriorating security situation there, the widespread corruption, billions of dollars in cash missing and the fact that many of the projects Bush bragged about are now falling apart, the public believes things are going poorly in Iraq. Despite the grumbling and moaning that we hear, keen observers will clearly perceive, through the 20/20 vision that four years of hindsight allow, that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have been highly profitable ventures for Bush, Cheney, their families and the neoconservatives who led us to war.
The mission has been accomplished indeed.
The McClatchy Newspapers report that the price tag for the Iraq invasion and occupation will soon exceed $500 billion.
ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s about ten times more than the Bush administration anticipated before the war started four years ago, and no one can predict how high the tab will go. The $124 billion spending bill that President Bush plans to veto this week includes about $78 billion for Iraq, with the rest earmarked for the war in Afghanistan, veteransÃ¢Â€Â™ health care and other government programs.
Congressional Democrats and Bush agree that they cannot let their dispute over a withdrawal timetable block the latest cash installment for Iraq. Once that political fight is resolved, Congress can focus on the presidentÃ¢Â€Â™s request for $116 billion more for the war in the fiscal year that starts on Sept. 1.
The combined spending requests would push the total for Iraq to $564 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
No matter what your position is on the occupation, you’Â€Â™ve got to admit thatÃ¢Â€Â™s one helluva score. You have to admire the neocon gangsta.
Consider that according to CBS News, Vice President Dick Cheney’Â€Â™s former company, Halliburton, earned about $2.3 billion profit on revenues of $22.6 billion for 2006 alone. CorpWatch says that by March 30, 2004 – just one year after the invasion began – Halliburton had already pocketed $6 billion in Iraq contracts even though corruption and mismanagement were evident.
Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: Ã¢Â€ÂœIraq was better than expected Ã¢Â€Â¦ Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good.Ã¢Â€Â
Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from IraqÃ¢Â€Â™s coffers, a country battered by civil war – but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.
But now, in a classic “take the money and run” move, Halliburton is skipping town, moving their corporate HQ to the United Arab Emirates, a nation with which the US has no extradition agreement. This not only will allow them to avoid prosecution for whatever underhanded dealings were going on, but they also wonÃ¢Â€Â™t have to pay taxes on their ill-gotten gains.
And by spinning off its KBR unit, the wing of the company that held most of those corupt military contracts, they have further removed themselves from the scene of the crime. Straight gangsta!
But your boy, Dick Cheney, got rid of all his Halliburton stock, right? He isnÃ¢Â€Â™t gaining financially from all this is he? Au contraire, mon cher.
Cheney still holds 433,333 stock options in the corporation. Those options rose 3821% in 2004. The pay out will be deferred until after he leaves office, which means it will have grown a lot more. These are in addition to the $33.7 million retirement package the VP will receive after leaving office. Therefore Cheney DIRECTLY profits from any of his actions during his vice-presidency that positively affect HalliburtonÃ¢Â€Â™s revenues and stock price.
And what about G-Dub? Well, he happens to be a former employee of a company called The Carlyle Group. William Rivers Pitts of Truthout.org lays it out for us:
The Carlyle Group achieved national attention in the early days of the Iraq occupation, especially after Michael Moore’Â€Â™s Fahrenheit 9/11 exposed the firm’Â€Â™s umbilical ties to the Bush family and the House of Saud. For the uninitiated, Carlyle is a privately-owned equity firm organized and run by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.
Currently, Carlyle manages more than $44 billion in 42 different investment funds, which is an interesting fact in and of itself: Carlyle could lay claim to only a meager $12 billion in funds in December of 2001. Thanks to their ownership of United Defense Industries, a major military contractor that sells a whole galaxy of weapons systems to the Pentagon, CarlyleÃ¢Â€Â™s profits skyrocketed after the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Some notable present and former employees of Carlyle include former president George H.W. Bush, who resigned in 2003; James Baker III, Bush Sr.’Â€Â™s secretary of state and king fixer; and George W. Bush, who served on Carlyle’Â€Â™s board of directors until his run for the Texas governorship. One notable former client of Carlyle was the Saudi BinLaden Group, which sold its investment back to the firm a month after the September 11 attacks. Until the October 2001 sellout, Osama bin Laden himself had a financial interest in the same firm that employed the two presidents Bush.
Yes, you read that right. Osama bin Laden was a former business partner of the Bush family. Should we be a little suspicious about why Dubya stopped chasing his former running buddy, and decided to go after his fatherÃ¢Â€Â™s former running buddy Saddam? But thatÃ¢Â€Â™s another topic.
Bush Sr. resigned from Carlyle in October 2003, but remains on retainer because his clout can bring home the bacon. Again from Common Dreams:
In January 2006, Bush Sr. wrote China’Â€Â™s Foreign Affairs Ministry that it would be Ã¢Â€Âœbeneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relationsÃ¢Â€Â if Beijing approved the sale of a Chinese bank to a consortium which included Carlyle. Bluntly put, Bush Sr. asked China to grant Carlyle a lucrative business deal or risk his sonÃ¢Â€Â™s wrath. Foreign policy at its finest.
But the whole family is in on the act. George’s “Uncle Bucky”Â€Â – William H. T. Bush – is on the board of military contractor Engineered Supports Systems, Inc. (ESSI) whose stock has climbed 1000 percent since 2000. In 2003, The Financial Times reported that the presidentÃ¢Â€Â™s brother Neil earned $60,000 a year through Crest Investment Company, a private firm that generates contracts in Iraq. (Neil also profits from the No Child Left Behind program. His company Ignite! holds lucrative federal contracts to supply educational material.)
Brother Marvin is on the board of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., which insured part of the World Trade Center. That company benefited when Bush pushed through insurance company bailout legislation after 9/11. He is also a founder of Winston Partners, a private investment firm with military and security holdings that profit from the war.
By escalating and prolonging the occupation of Iraq, Bush and Cheney are padding their wallets, and the wallets of their families. In fact, if the war ends, those revenue streams will dry up.
Bush isn’t working for American soldiers when he vetoes a spending bill with withdrawl provisions. He is working for himself, his family and his business partners.
“Â€ÂœIt’Â€Â™s worth it,”Â€Â Bush said last May, when the tab was around $320 billion. “I wouldn’t have spent it if it wasn’t worth it.”
Exactly. Mission Accomplished.
As you know, I supported Bush’s invasion, I do not think that he “lied”, I do not think that he has “changed his justification”, and I believe that he has all along intended to create an independent, democratic, and prosperous Iraq.
However, I also believe that not invading Iraq could have been a good choice, and I oppose both the names and substances of his Homeland Security and Patriot Acts.
Also, I fault Bush for many aspects of his performance in his Iraq war effort:
1. His speech at WTC Ground Zero was disgraceful. War his horrible, and killing even of a wicked slave owner or the rapist of your daughter is a horrible, regrettable thing. How awful that anybody would grow up to be a monster; how awful that any decent person should be in a position were he or she must kill even the worst person. And war always results in such good people dying, as well as innocent people dying, getting maimed, losing their children, and their homes and livelihoods. In the light of these obvious facts, Bush’s bullhorn speech was a disgrace to me.
2. His “Mission Accomplished” speech was even more disgraceful. I agree with him that one mission — eliminating Hussein’s tyrannical govt — was indeed accomplished. But at a cost, a cost of innocent Iraqis dead and maimed, and with their homes and resources destroyed. This was no time for bluster and a chance to fly a jet fighter, making yourself look good. I agree with him that it was a time for some jubilation, to encourage the people working for civilization to keep up their efforts, and to give some hope to the ordinary Iraqis who were confused and anxious. I fault Bush for neither conveying that the most difficult tasks were yet to come, and now for demonstrating that he did not know that.
3. I fault him for creating the interim government comprising US honkies. Sure this worked in Japan after WWII, but this is a new time; I fault him for not populating that first govt with Iraqi nationals.
4. I fault him for making the US Embassy in Iraq a super #1 priority, one project that never suffers for anything, and for being the biggest and must awesome embassy in the history of the world. I fault him for not knowing that this would be a mistake, and insult all the Iraqis living in desperation and hell.
5. I fault him for including any torture, and for in any way not including in his prisoner plans the obvious fact that some significant fraction of captives would be innocent, and that some other fraction would — in the face of humane treatment — be ripe for flipping in favor of civilization.
I have other criticisms, but I will pause my list here. I will add one criticism of Bush supporters: they have not openly accepted that Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfield are all draft-dodgers. This fact does not make those people incorrect or incapable of identifying a neccessary war or of executing it. But we supporters of this war must recognize that the leaders of this effort are people who themselves slipped out of service during their own day.
As for the “Mission Accomplished” banner itself, I thought that everybody knew by now that the Bushies didn’t put it there, the sailors did, and they were referring not to the entire war, but only to the mission that had just been accomplished: overturning Hussein’s government, an effort that many anti-war devotees insisted would take months and involve tens of thousands of US troops killed (by WMD!). At the moment of this event, by the way, Iraqi citizens had cheered the arrival of US troops (including areas now enmeshed in hellish violence).
At the time, it appeared that every detail of the day’s events had been carefully planned, including the president’s arrival in the co-pilot’s seat of a Navy S-3B Viking after making two flybys of the carrier.
The exterior of the four-seat S-3B Viking was marked with “Navy 1” and “George W. Bush Commander in Chief.”
White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN that in preparing for the speech, Navy officials on the carrier told Bush aides they wanted a “Mission Accomplished” banner, and the White House agreed to create it.
“We took care of the production of it,” McClellan said. “We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up.”
Whether the banner itself was Bush’s idea or not is irrelevant. It was his assertion that major combat operations had ceased, and that the war was over.
He is the one who played John Wayne (or Tom Cruise) by flying in a jet wearing a flight suit. That photo will forever be remembered as a sign of his failure as a president.
Bush’s speech, and his flying on board, where disgraceful, I agree. If he or his staff ordered the Mission Accomplished banner or not, clearly it pertained only to the mission that had indeed been accomplished, which was the toppling of Hussein’s tyranny. That mission, many people insisted would come at a much greater cost than it did.
This necessarily involved the loss of life, including both retarded brutes and innocent people, plus US troops, and the destruction of resources needed by decent folks. Such circumstances necessarily called for humility and somberness on the part of Bush, not superficial bluster, plus encouragement for the uncertain task ahead.